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How Landscape Conservation Partnerships Are Working to Address Climate Change

Lincoln Institute of Land Policy; Network for Landscape Conservation; University of Montana
May 2023

The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, in partnership with the Network for Landscape Conservation and the University of Montana, has released a working paper exploring the role of large landscape conservation in providing nature-based climate solutions. 

Land conservation addresses climate change both by mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and by helping human and natural communities adapt to the changes caused by global warming. To be most effective, land conservation strategies dealing with climate change need to be implemented at scale and typically require collaboration among many partners who need to work together to overcome obstacles like political boundaries, uncoordinated plans, competition for funding and cultural conflicts.

This paper examines the experience of collaborative partnerships in dealing with climate change. The examination draws from a recent online survey of landscape conservation partnerships, interviews with over 40 practitioners, web research, and email communications. This paper presents practices that appear to be most effective and makes recommendations that can accelerate and broaden the benefits of landscape conservation and restoration in meeting climate goals.


The Dynamics of Successful Partnerships Between Conservation Organizations and Indigenous Groups

International Land Conservation Network
May 2023

Indigenous cultures have stewarded nature for thousands of years but today's conservation approaches often sideline this knowledge – to the detriment of stewardship efforts, Indigenous peoples and the planet. In the first of a 2-part webinar series, we hear from speakers from the U.S. and Australia about the dynamics of successful partnerships between conservation organizations and Indigenous groups, both in the management of conservation lands and in Indigenous handbacks of conservation lands. The key focus is on the ‘how’: How to partner with and support Indigenous-led conservation, including best practices, strategies for reciprocity, and turning listening into action.


Outdoors for All: Providing Equitable Access to Parks and Nature

California Natural Resources Agency
May 2023

The Outdoors for All strategy charts progress on equitable outdoor access to date, highlights work underway, and identifies additional actions to realize the promise of a California for All. This strategy outlines pathways that government, community organizations, philanthropy, private sector, and residents across California can take together to continue increasing access to the outdoors and nature.


An Environmental Regulation Paradigm Shift: The Cutting Green Tape Story

California Landscape Stewardship Network
March 2023

A paradigm shift is inherently complex and difficult to achieve. It is particularly challenging within a layered, multiagency regulatory environment that has been built over decades. However, it can be done. This case study examines one promising example—Cutting Green Tape (CGT)—that not only aims to increase regulatory and permitting efficiencies, but also to shift our collective thinking about how multibenefit environmental restoration projects in California can happen.

The CGT case study allows us to explore the evolution and current status of a perceived paradigm shift. This case study’s researchoriented lens and consideration of Kuhn’s seminal work on shifting paradigms (1970) reveals CGT’s progression in a way that can be applied by a wide range of professional audiences. Insights are shared with those seeking to create such a shift within regulatory (or similar) contexts.

Findings indicate that a paradigm shift for environmental restoration work in California is indeed underway. CGT is moving into the final phase of a five-phase process (see Five Phases of a Paradigm Shift). Two of the four signs of a true paradigm shift (see Four Signs of a Paradigm Shift) have been fulfilled, and there are initial indicators of progress towards the third sign of change as well. However, while promising, CGT as a new paradigm (i.e., a profound change in approach or underlying assumptions) has yet to be fully realized.


Farm Bill Recommendations for Community-based and Collaborative Capacity

Rural Voices for Conservation Coalition
February 2023

The reauthorization of the Farm Bill in 2023 presents a prime opportunity to ensure that federal agencies and their partners have the tools and authorities needed to maximize the use, impacts, and effectiveness of recent investments to achieve lasting conservation outcomes.

Recognizing this unique moment in time, the Rural Voices for Conservation Coalition (RVCC) convened a working group to develop recommendations for the 2023 Farm Bill. Capacity-building quickly rose to the top as our priority topic. In order to ensure the effective use of current investments, there is a need to use the power of Farm Bill programs and authorities to build capacity of community-based and collaborative partners and efforts. This capacity is crucial for developing the sustained social and physical infrastructure and the enabling conditions necessary to effectively and optimally use federal investments. Building community-based capacity in particular has been recognized as a key means of reducing barriers to access and advancing equity within U.S. Department of Agriculture programs. The recommendations below outline various strategies for Farm Bill programs and authorities that would bolster collaborative and community-based partners and efforts, both in terms of internal resources and capabilities and in their ability to use and access Farm Bill programs.


Equity Leaders Speaker Series: Chanell Fletcher

Equity Leader Speaker Series: Chanell Fletcher
December 2022

On December 6, 2022, we were joined by Chanell Fletcher, Deputy Executive Officer for Environmental Justice at California Air Resources board. Over the course of an hour, Chanell and moderator Barb Kipreos talked expansively about working toward air quality standards and the need to orient toward justice.


Opportunities to Accelerate Nature-based Solutions: A Roadmap for Climate Progress, Thriving Nature, Equity, & Prosperity

White House Council on Environmental Quality
November 2022

This report provides a roadmap with five strategic recommendations for federal agencies to unlock the potential of nature-based solutions and highlights bold Executive Office of the President actions designed to pave the way. Importantly, these recommendations position the United States to prioritize nature-based solutions as go-to options in fighting climate change, nature loss and inequities.

The recommendations in this report are some of the best opportunities we have to meet climate goals and grow climate-ready communities, economies, and sectors. All have a role to play in turning these recommendations into action. President Biden and his National Climate Task Force are in a position to act boldly and lead adoption of these recommendations, advancing naturebased solutions as powerful tools that the nation and the world need now.


Infrastructure and Climate Investments will Require Building Rural Capacity

Center for American Progress
October 2022

This brief article links to two October 2022 reports CAP issued that assess the ways in which missed opportunities in implementing federal resilience programs exemplify the challenges facing rural communities.


Cutting Green Tape Exchange Fall 2022

California Landscape Stewardship Network
September 2022

On September 7, 2022, the California Landscape Stewardship Network hosted the 5th virtual Cutting Green Tape Exchange. During two hours, we heard insights, updates and more on the Cutting Green Initiative from:

  • Welcome from lead facilitator Shawn Johnson (University of Montana)
  • Reflections on Cutting Green Tape from Wade Crowfoot (California's Secretary for Natural Resources)
  • Presenting the Hidden Hero Awards to Madeline Cavalieri (California Coastal Commission) and Jake Shannon (North Coast Regional Water Board)
  • SERP Program highlights and updates from Brad Henderson (California Department of Fish and Wildlife)
  • Practitioners' panel on SERP Program project implementation including Kristan Culbert (American Rivers), Kellyx Nelson (California Landscape Stewardship Network), and Jim Robins (San Mateo RCD)
  • News Announcement on the Programmatic USFWS Biological Opinion from Katie Haldeman (Sustainable Conservation) and Lee Ann Carranza (US Fish & Wildlife Service)
  • Discussing the Cutting Green Tape Case Study with Amy Mickel (California State University at Sacramento) and Sharon Farrell (California Landscape Stewardship Network)
  • Closing Reflections from Jennifer Norris (Deputy Secretary for Biodiversity and Habitat) The Exchange was facilitated by Shawn Johnson, CLSN Steering Committee member and Director at the University of Montana's Center for Natural Resources & Environmental Policy.


Increasing Collaborative Capacity and Infrastructure for Landscape Stewardship

California Landscape Stewardship Network
August 2022

Most current natural resource plans and policies focus on the need for collaborative management. Indeed, the complexity and intersectionality of today’s biodiversity, environmental justice, and climate change challenges require collaboration with diverse governmental and non-governmental partners at many scales. However, multi-benefit, cross-sector, and cross-boundary collaboration is an emerging field, one in which practices continue to evolve. While California’s leaders have expressed strong support for collaboration, agencies and legislators are seeking to identify specific roles that the state and federal government can play to activate and sustain this work at a regional scale.This paper provides an overall approach as well as specific recommendations for how state and federal agencies can support the building and sustaining of local and regional collaboration necessary to advance landscape-scale stewardship.


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